Every year or so, I make it a point to get in front of the camera. It’s so easy to remain behind the camera and focus on capturing images, but I do it for a number of reasons of which I will detail below. TBH I really don’t like being in front of the camera, so this is really a thing for me. It’s something that I have had to get over through the years. So join me as I get exposed (pun intended because of course a proper exposure is needed 😀).
My number one reason for jumping in front of the camera is to keep the feeling of what its like as the subject. It’s not easy sitting in front of a camera while someone snaps away, glancing at the back screen sometimes making odd faces and sometimes playing with the buttons on the camera. It also helps me to remember how important communication is. I may over-explain at times what I’m about to do or what I just did. However, I feel it’s important to establish and maintain a connection throughout the shoot so I don’t lose them.
I also found out how weird it is to not know where to look. Over here, over there, I do not know, not anywhere (I sound like a Dr. Seuss book. LOL). Such simple things that I take for granted because I do it all the time are not so common to the individual doing their first shoot.
Another thing that I learned early on from two of my mentors, Bambi Cantrell and Doug Gordon, is to demonstrate what you want people to do. Mirroring for them makes it so much easier than vague directions to turn to your left. I take the time to get into the exact position and sometimes share the expression that we are going for. Having an example has proven to be super helpful. Truth be told posing isn’t easy. Neither is posing to make it look like it’s not posed. But experiencing it from the front side of a camera provides great perspective and can help how I guide clients.
Basically, experiencing my own levels of discomfort and unease helped reinforce what I want my experience to look like for others. The experience should be fun and full of music and laughter. In fact, I created these rules that will govern my shoots going forward.
* Always shoot with music (unless requested not to)
* Silent sessions are No Bueno. (This starts well before the shoot and continues afterward) Make noise. Have FUN
* Make friends. This is the bonus from what I do.
* Over communicate. Explain EVERYTHING (ok, maybe not for repeat clients…)
Another reason I get in front of the camera is to keep my brand fresh. As much as I prefer to be behind the camera I need to be exposed too. It’s imperative that I refresh and have a story to tell with images of my own. I choose not to be a hypocrite by telling others why it’s so important to have fresh, relevant images and not do the same for my business. It has become a fun and rewarding learning for me. I’m so blessed to have amazing industry friends that I truly trust to capture my images. In fact, I have a list of the next 2-3 photogs that I want to work with.
Even more so, it’s so critical for me to have family images too. I tell the story HERE of my dad and I (I don’t have Images to show of the two of us as adults). I NEVER want that to be the case for my wife or girls.
Being exposed in front of a camera can be a very vulnerable place. It’s a place where ministry moments unfold. A place to release tension, Inhibitions and free one’s self from stereotypes or conditions that others have placed on them. Being exposed can force you to really take a deep look within and reassess patterns, habits, and plans for the future. It has even prompted me to do a photo series called “Unmask Shooting Raw”. I want to shoot a series of models without makeup, and do interviews with those individuals discussing flaws, insecurities, and the power we feel or don’t feel when we are unmasked. Email me if you’d like to participate (email@example.com)
So get ready. If you haven’t been exposed lately, what are you waiting for? Make the best first impression with professional images. Capture images of your children and family.
Pictures by Tara Gray of Feel This Moment Photography